Life is not Disneyland….
It was a beautiful summer day in 1992. Mom and dad loaded four kids up bright and early, and left the hustle and bustle of life in Dallas for a vacation at Disneyland. Plans were foiled however about fifteen miles southeast of Vernon on Hwy. 287. A car crash left both parents with serious injuries, and four pre-school children shaken and scared. The ambulance transported the vacation bound family to Wichita Falls for treatment. The injured mother was taken into surgery immediately and the father was admitted as well.
What do you do with four pre-school children who are temporally orphaned? It turns out that the dad is a sergeant with the Dallas Police Dept, and the mother is a trauma nurse at Parkland Hospital. Dallas PD contacted law enforcement in Wichita Falls and the chaplains on call went into action. One of the chaplains babysat all night, while the children slept peacefully in the ICU waiting room at the hospital. I took the next shift early the next morning. I will never forget the sight of four sweet little children in that waiting room in their torn and blood stained clothes. A trip to Gibson’s Discount Center was in order! The children were fed and clothed, and in a few hours their grandparents arrived to relieve us from a duty that was truly a privilege.
The parents recovered fully from the injuries and made the trip back to Dallas. The Disneyland plans were foiled for that year.
A few weeks later we received a warm thank you note from the family.
Helping that family was one of the joys of being a chaplain. They were nice people with sweet kids. The entire scenario was a tragedy that actually had a happy ending. There were gracious sentiments expressed by everyone.
But….let us be reminded. We are frequently called to serve in situations that don’t have happy endings. We are often called to assist people that are not gracious. Sometimes we are cursed at by belligerent adults instead of being received by children eager to make a new friend. We are here to serve.
Serve on the good days and serve on the bad days. We need to remember occasionally….life is not Disneyland.